ONTARIO (NEWS 1130) – Conservative Leader Stephen Harper isn’t budging on his refusal to hold a federal inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.
During a campaign stop in Whitby, Ont., Harper said it is “way past the time” for studying the issue, noting there have been dozens of examinations already.
Instead, a re-elected Conservative government would press ahead with efforts to prevent violence against aboriginal women and ensure appropriate penalties are in place for abusers.
Harper says his government’s position on this has been very clear. He says it has moved forward with a whole series of criminal justice reforms to deal with the problems of violence against people generally, violence against women in particular.
Harper says “most of these murders, sad as they are, are in fact solved.”
A landmark report issued last year by the RCMP said close to 90 per cent of all female homicides are solved, and there is little difference in solve rates between aboriginal and non-aboriginal victims.
Overall, the RCMP review _ drawing on data stretching back to 1980 _ identified 1,181 police-recorded incidents of aboriginal female homicides and unresolved missing aboriginal females _ 164 missing and 1,017 homicide victims.
Still, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says Harper is “shamefully ignorant of the facts.”
He says there’s an obligation to get to the bottom of the problem and has repeated his pledge that the New Democrats would initiate an inquiry within 100 days of forming a government.